HINGHAM, Mass. -- A man accused of throwing two women off his boat into Boston Harbor after they refused his sexual advances pleaded innocent to attempted murder and other charges Monday and was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation.
John J. Shea Jr., 33, of Hull entered his plea at an arraignment in Hingham District Court. He is charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with intent to rape, and two counts of indecent assault and battery, authorities said.
Judge Geraldine Lombardo deferred bail for Shea, ordering him to undergo 20 days of psychiatric evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital on the recommendation of a court psychologist. The case was continued until July 5.
Shea was arrested Saturday after the two women were rescued from chilly waters about 7 miles offshore by a passing sailboat, the Coast Guard said.
'They were shivering real bad and had very mild hypothermia (when transferred to a Coast Guard boat from the sailboat),' Coast Guard Radio Officer John Curran said.
The two women, whose names were not released, told the Coast Guard they were sunbathing Saturday near a boat house on the Charles River in Boston when Shea and another man invited them to go for a ride in their 22-foot pleasure craft, Wet Dreams.
Curran said that after they rode around for awhile, the operator of the boat 'attempted sexual coercion.' When the women rejected the advances, 'he threw them overboard,' Curran said.
The women, dressed only in bathing suits and without life preservers, tread water for about a half-hour before being rescued by the sailboat Salt Air after its crew heard them screaming for help.
'From eye level, all the women could see was the top of the sailboat's mast over the horizon, which meant it had to be at least a couple of miles away. They started swimming toward it,' Curran said.
He said their calls for help were heard because the boat was under sail. 'If they had had their engine running, they might not have heard them,' he said.
'The sailboat had to come from way off on the horizon,' Curran said. 'They were really lucky.'
He said the water temperature at the time was in the 50s.
The women were taken by the Coast Guard to their station at Point Allerton in Hull, where they where examined by medical crews and released.
Curran said the Coast Guard attempted to contact Wet Dreams by radio, but there was no response. The Hull harbormaster who heard the calls notified the Coast Guard the boat was in Hull waters. Environmental police later arrested Shea at the Salt Water Club in Hull.
Shea's companion was questioned by environmental police but was not charged in the incident. The companion, whose name was not released, apparently tried to help the two women before they were thrown overboard, police said.